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12/31/01 Went the Neighborhood
12/01/01 This Magic Moment
11/14/01 Brain Gap Day
10/28/01 B-I-N-G-O
09/28/01 Me and the Girls
09/16/01 The Local DJ
08/12/01 Out of the Closet
07/28/01 The Bomb

Bushed

I'm wide awake at 4 a.m. I've been up all night pondering the past election. I guess it just dawned on me that George Bush is President. It seemed so surreal at the time.

I remember turning on the TV November fifth to find our candidates in a dead heat. I spilled coffee all over my startled self. It was inconceivable. I thought everyone had watched the debates. Gore was clearly the lesser of two evils.

At that moment, sitting in my coffee-stained underwear, I realized that not everyone enjoys the ability to recognize quality when it stands before them. I'm not suggesting that our ballot smacked of quality. I'm just saying that when Bush failed to define "ERA," a trap door should have opened beneath him, dropping him from the race.

For me, it was easy because I'm a single-issue voter. I believe that Nature is more beautiful than man and that the environment is the only true issue on the card. In California, a teenager gives birth every nine minutes. To me, that's an environmental emergency.

Asked to choose between the author of Earth in the Balance and a pair of oil magnates, I knew which chad to dimple.

Most Americans agree. Gore did win the popular vote. But nearly half of us made another decision -- to place business before the wonder of being.

To quote Mr. Keating, "Medicine, law, engineering -- these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty ... love. These are what we stay alive for."

Some voted for Bush on the basis of abortion; others were anti-Semites. A third of Bush's supporters were influenced by Clinton's actions (vengeance votes). A third of Nader's people said they would vote for Gore if they had it to do over. It's like losing the World Series to a balk, a passed ball, and a bad call at home.

I will not address the dubious circumstances surrounding Florida, for it gives me a rash.

But I digress. I sought to illustrate the absurdity of our election, and here I am talking politics. Maybe that's the point: politics is about politics. I don't care how the elephant's outlook will shape the ass's platform; I want to know that our leaders are motivated by well-defined ideals that come before their own ego-needs.

My grandpa used to say, "Never trust a man who runs for office." I am coming to understand the truth of his Budweiser-ism.

I spent the past 2 weeks in D.C., where I saw every national monument except Bill Clinton's phallus. It was a history lesson that taught me everything I had missed while memorizing dates in high school.

What touched me most were the principles on which our nation is built. What a marvel that America's forepersons came together at the same time and space (can you hear the national anthem in the distance?) These men gave themselves to standards for which they were willing to die. Their unpopular principles stemmed from a sense of right and wrong practiced in few courts today. The ones who survived created democracy to represent every citizen, even the ones with no front teeth.

I stood inside the Jefferson Memorial and read the quotes chiseled in the walls. The ideals that drove this men made me feel silly to have days when all I think about is whether my eyes are really the same size. We hear a lot about the American Dream, but here was a man who breathed it. I don't imagined Tom wasted much time watching TV.

Leaving my trance, I noticed overhead a fighter plane that could destroy a small country if so inclined. We sure have come a long way since the bayonet. The President would land this afternoon to address the energy crisis that has proven so gainful to him. I glanced at the gridlock before the Capitol Building: signals flashing, smog a-spewing, everyone vying for power.

If you listened closely, you could hear the unknown soldiers scratching at their coffins.

I blame this column on CNN. Before I turned in, they played the President's energy address, and I still can't fall asleep. Bush recited the words prepared by his team, stressing the wrong syllables like any bad actor. Between the lines, he announced that Alaska was screwed.

Then the funny part: they cut to the weather report and the "record-breaking temperatures across the country." I laughed for lack of options. Had anyone else noticed?

We elected a man named Bush who won't care for the trees.

Time recently depicted Earth as a fried egg alongside the caption, "Global Warming: Climbing temperatures, melting glaciers, rising seas all over the world. We're feeling the heat. Why isn't Washington?"

Answer: It's not good for business.

It's starting to sink in that Bush is President, his father's Mini-Me. Inasmuch as he reflects the people's priorities, perhaps he is the perfect President. Yesterday, we got our tax cut; today, we learn that the Exxon Valdez is back in business.

Careful what you vote for, you just might get it.

Have you ever taken a cruise to Alaska? If not, I implore you to go -- before the tractors arrive. It is an experience that words can't handle. Perhaps you could take Mr. Bush with you. Drifting through the glaciers while caribou sip from the springs on either side, even the most powerful man in the world might realize how small he is.

There. I got it off my chest. I must sleep now. I'm bushed.

 



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